January 9, 2004

‘Scene’ newspaper names VUSN’s Conway-Welch Nashvillian of the Year

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‘Scene’ newspaper names VUSN’s Conway-Welch Nashvillian of the Year

Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., has been named the Nashvillian of the Year by the Nashville Scene newspaper.

Bruce Dobie, editor of the Scene, said Conway-Welch was chosen by a committee of community leaders in Nashville for her commitment to philanthropic efforts, her leadership in nursing, and her service to the city of Nashville.

“She is a serious player in various national initiatives related to health and wellness; most recently, she has emerged as a key figure in determining responses to acts of terrorism in the wake of 9/11. For all of these reasons, she is the Nashville Scene’s 2003 Nashvillian of the Year,” Dobie penned in the latest issue of the Scene featuring the dean.

“When Bruce called, I thought he was asking me to be on the committee to pick the person. Then he said ‘no, it’s you,’” said Conway-Welch. “I was stunned, absolutely stunned,” she added.

The article describes how Conway-Welch came to Vanderbilt and restructured the School of Nursing to make it the premier nursing institution that it is today. Conway-Welch said it has been and continues to be important to her to set an example as an active leader in the community as well as the University and Medical Center.

“It’s terribly important, because many times people don’t know what nurses can do in their communities, churches and with charities,” Conway-Welch said. She said the world is at your hands when you are a nurse.

“I’m a nurse, I can do anything, I can go anywhere,” she said. But it is the Vanderbilt School of Nursing that she has called home since 1984.

Conway-Welch, Nancy and Hilliard Travis Professor of Nursing and dean of the School of Nursing, is a graduate of Georgetown University, Catholic University of America, and New York University. She served on President Ronald Reagan’s Commission on the HIV Epidemic in 1988, the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare in 1998, the Governor’s Commission on the Future of TennCare, and in 2002 was appointed to the Secretary’s Council on Public Health Preparedness.

She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a charter Fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine and serves as a director on the boards of Pinnacle Bank, RehabCare Group, Caremark Rx, Inc., and Ardent Health Services. She is also the founding director of the International Nursing Coalition for Mass Casualty Education.